The internet is evolving yet again – is your real estate website primed for the latest SSL/HTTPS Security update?

IMPORTANT PSA: Sometime in July 2018, Google Chrome, Firefox and other modern browsers are going to begin warning visitors every time they are on a website that does not have it’s SSL Security Certificate.

If you’re a REALTOR who’s website is not SSL Secured, soon visitors are going to see a “NOT SECURE” warning in their browser when they are on your website – this is NOT a good look for your brand.

Make sure you are totally ready for the major upcoming SSL update by reading all the way through this article and taking the steps required on your end to get your site an SSL Certificate.

NINJA NOTE [-_-]~~ As of the end of June, all new RealtyNinja websites are SSL secured by default. If you are a RealtyNinja customer who started their account before June 29, 2018 please FILL OUT THIS FORM and we will get you all set up. The SSL Certification on your RealtyNinja website is FREE – included with your regular subscription price.

PS. People often ask us the benefits of using RealtyNinja vs. building your own custom website. This free SSL registry and setup is one example of such a benefit. Many custom website providers are charging additional $$$ to add SSL Certificates to client’s websites (and to renew it every year), and if you’re managing your own custom website, it’s just another thing to add to the list. Luckily for you, #ninjasgotyourback

What is SSL & why is it important?

SSL stands for Secure Sockets Layer, and it’s a method of transferring website data online through encrypted connections. When your website is SSL Secured, you receive a digital “certificate” (that visitors can check) and your website becomes much more secure from potential hackers, phishing scammers, etc.

Typically in the past, SSL Certification was mainly used for sites that transferred private information, financial information, usernames & passwords, and other sensitive data over the internet. SSL Certification is in fact mandatory if you want to operate a website that collects financial information online, such as an eCommerce website or a financial institution site.

Think of an SSL Certificate as a trusted piece of ID that confirms to the internet that a website is truly “who” it says it is – that you can trust them & believe them to be credible.

For example, you can’t just trust every website that claims to be Facebook, and give up your login info. You can however trust the-one-and-only Facebook website that has the “SSL SECURE” icon in the browser.

SSL Security at Facebook

Keep in mind, SSL is nothing new. Its been a thing for over 20 years, protecting peoples’ information online! It’s only in the recent past that SSL is going mainstream

Based on a report from Builtwith, as of Feb 2018, 50% of the top 10,000 websites are SSL Secure. In Sep 2015, only 5.7% of the top 10,000 sites had SSL. That’s a massive leap in adoption in 2.5 years.

With the increase in the amount of information that is being traded online, Google and other large internet companies have joined forces to provide a more secure internet experience. Hence why the relatively sudden push towards SSL security for all sites across the spectrum – not just eComm sites anymore.

How do I know if MY website is SSL Secured?

One easy way to check if you are SSL Secured, is by visiting your website and then looking in the URL bar in your browser once the site has loaded.

If your domain (www.you.com) is prefixed with http://, then your website is NOT SSL Secure.

not-secure

On the other hand, if your domain is prefixed with https://, then you can rest easy, your website IS SSL Secure.

secure

Most modern browsers are now warning visitors when the website they are browsing is “NOT SECURE.” If your website contains a login screen (which most real estate websites – including RealtyNinja sites – do,) some sort of payment processing feature, or in any way transfers sensitive data, you’ll want to make sure you are SSL Secured in the coming months.

This is not just another neat marketing idea from The Dojo that you should maybe look into. SSL Security is the evolution and future of the internet. Those of you REALTORS® who don’t heed these warnings are going to fall well behind in a lot of ways.

PS. As the saying goes, “The cobblers son has no shoes.” You may have noticed that RealtyNinja.com and The Dojo are not yet SSL Secure! We’re 100% aware of this (and the irony,) but our priority is our customers SSL security. Once we make sure our customers are all set, we’ll take care of ourselves as well ;)

Why should REALTORS® care about HTTPS/SSL Security?

While REALTORS® are not exactly exchanging credit card info or private info on their website, there are still a few important reasons that you need to be ahead of the curve with SSL Security.

Reason #1) Avoid Browser Warnings to Visitors

Whether you’re using a RealtyNinja website or a WordPress custom website, modern browsers will show a “NOT SECURE” warning, if your site is not HTTPS. It no longer matters if the user is submitting credit card details through a form or browsing harmless photos, modern browsers will warn users across the board.

Additionally, a real estate agent website’s primary objective is to collect leads. That requires the use of some form… built-in contact forms that come with your website, 3rd party forms or even Chatbots.

If your website contains any lead-capture forms of any kind, most people will be reluctant to fill in contact forms on insecure sites… especially a few months from now when SSL becomes commonplace.

When people leave a REALTORS® website because they don’t want to fill out an insecure form, make sure they can come to YOUR real estate website and confidently reach out to you ;)

Reason #2) Bake Trust & Credibility into Your Brand

SSL is going to be particularly important to real estate agents moving forward, because of how important TRUST and CREDIBILITY are in the real estate industry.

While trust & credibility are important when I’m buying a $20 trinket off of Amazon.ca, they are much more important when I’m planning to buy a $2 Million trinket with the help of a REALTOR®.

In the very near future when the average person has calibrated to the change in SSL, someone who visits your website and sees the SSL Secured logo will immediately feel trust.

The SSL security subconsciously strengthens people’s respect for your brand. It also shows that you take your business seriously online, which reflects well for you both online and off.

Now, imagine that same visitor continues to browse your website. Your dozens of sold listings, your glowing testimonials, your awards and your community outreach… they are going to love you before even meeting you!

The SSL Certification bakes a layer of trust and credibility into the foundation of your relationship with leads, through the framework of your website. It’s a good look for you, trust me!

Reason #3) Earn SEO Boosts & Referral Data

This one is pretty simple and makes a lot of logical sense… As I mentioned earlier, Google and other internet companies want to make the internet more secure. In an effort to switch as many websites to SSL as possible, Google is now offering a couple incentives!

Incentive 1: Get better referral data from Google Analtics – if you use Google Analytics you are probably used to seeing things such as “Direct Traffic” or “Indirect Traffic” as your referral sources. This is because referral data from HTTPS to HTTP sites is blocked in Analytics and gets lumped together as “Direct Traffic” or whatnot.

With an HTTPS to HTTPS connection, Google can actually give you more depth to the level of information about the referral. If you notice your referral traffic dropping, it could be because lots of sites are moving to HTTPS.

Incentive 2: HTTPS/SSL Security is now an official Google SEO Signal – and will soon become standard across the board in the Search industry. Basically, ANY website that is HTTPS/SSL Secure will be slightly more likely to enjoy the sweet, sweet victory of Page 1 Google results.

Now, the good news… since real estate as an industry never really needed SSL security until now, people are JUST starting to ask about it… most real estate agents will not be on HTTPS for a while to come.

If you don’t see it yet, I’ll spell it out: This is a HUGE opportunity for you, reading this on time – like the modern real estate Ninja you are – think of how many hundreds or thousands of REALTORS® in your area you could be ahead of in terms of speed and SEO by making the switch to HTTPS today!

PS. Need more reasoning? HTTPS is going to make your website faster too. Currently, the internet runs on the “HTTP” protocol… before long we’re going to see HTTP/2 take over… HTTP/2 and SSL Security go hand in hand to improve your website’s overall performance. 

—-> Make sure you’re on the path to an SSL Secure site

Follow this SSL/HTTPS flowchart for REALTORS®

  1. Is your REALTOR® site SSL Secure?
    1. If Yes, give yourself (and your website provider) a high five!
    2. If No,
  2. Do you have a RealtyNinja Website?
    1. If Yes, FILL OUT THIS FORM and we will hook you up. Give yourself (and your website provider) a high five!
    2. If No, start your free unlimited trial of a RealtyNinja real estate website here. (Free auto-HTTPS)
      or-
  3. Contact your website provider and ask them “Can you provide me free SSL Certification?”
    1. If Yes, give yourself (and your website provider) a high five!
    2. If No…….. Ditch your zero and get with the hero’s at RealtyNinja! Start your free unlimited trial of a RealtyNinja real estate website here 😏

As always, let us know if you have any questions about SSL Security or anything website related at all. Have an awesome day!